July 4, 2015

Kid Curry: Aloo Matar

 In the supermarket, I heft a five-pound bag of organic Yukon Gold potatoes.

"Should we buy these?" I ask.

"I don't know. Yeah. What do you want to make with them?"

We're not a big potato family. Buying a whole sack of them feels like, you know, an investment.

"I want to make that pea and potato curry," I say.

"Sure, do it. I'll make hash browns."

Into the cart they go. I start dreaming of that comforting, Indian-spiced, gravy-rich aloo matar I've had--Where? At the Indian restaurant on Providence's East Side? At the Gainesville, Florida farmer's market?--I can't remember.

At home, I research and jot down notes. It quickly becomes clear that aloo matar is a truly exciting dish to make at home (puree a whole bunch of fresh cilantro?! OKAY!), but also that Yukon Gold potatoes are totally the wrong kind of potatoes. You want Russets, the classic baking potato, with their fluffy, earthy, spice-wicking texture.

So, I go back to the store and buy Russet potatoes. And with them, I make this: a pea and potato curry that's hearty and gently spiced, with familiar ingredients kids tend to like in a gravy that's complex with herbs and aromatics. Grownups: add some Sriracha or hot pepper flakes, and you've got the aloo matar of your dreams. And everyone is happy.

Except that I still have a huge bag of Yukon Gold potatoes. I think I've used one so far, in a soup.

Help me.

Kid Curry: Aloo Matar
Serves 6

3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 small sweet onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup frozen peas
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, stems mostly removed
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
plain yogurt and Sriracha sauce for serving (optional)

Boil potatoes in a large pot of water 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and roughly mash them, leaving some chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, puree diced tomatoes in a food processor. Set aside.

Give the food processor a quick rinse, then puree the onions, cilantro, and garlic.

In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the onion/cilantro puree, along with the turmeric, paprika, and coriander. Fry 8-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes, peas, salt, and 1.5 cups water. Simmer 10 more minutes to deepen flavors.

Remove from heat and add garam masala and lemon juice. Serve!